Jalen Brunson has turned into one of the best players in the NBA, leading the New York Knicks to championship contender status. His play earned him an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday night, where maybe the best story he told didn’t even make it to air.
Brunson explained how, as a kid, when he would go to his dad’s road games, he would buy a jersey from the home arena. Rick Brunson’s team (probably the Portland Trail Blazers) was playing the Washington Wizards against Michael Jordan. After the game, Rick took his son to meet Jordan while Jalen was wearing an MJ Wizards jersey.
However, when Jordan offered to sign the jersey, Brunson actually declined.
“He said, ‘Hey, you have my jersey, do you want me to sign it?’ I said, ‘Nah, you’ll mess it up,’” Brunson said. “The whole locker was going crazy, laughing.”
On a part of the interview that didn't make it to air on The Tonight Show, Jalen Brunson shared a story when his dad took him to meet Michael Jordan & when he offered to sign the Jordan jersey he was wearing as a kid, he declined because he'd "mess it up" ????— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) February 10, 2024
(via @FallonTonight) pic.twitter.com/4iMuPib7Lh
At that point, Jordan was already a six-time champion, but Brunson was a child who cared more about his pristine new jersey.
As for the parts of the interview that did make the air, Brunson told Fallon that he’s been listening to Justin Bieber songs before games since his freshman year at Villanova, when he won a national championship.
Brunson is averaging a career-high 27.2 points and 6.5 assists per game, which earned him his first All-Star game appearance. Therefore, the 27-year-old performed a spoken word rendition of “All Star” by Smash Mouth on the NBC show.
Brunson has been around basketball since he was born, which gives him a unique perspective of his current stardom. After winning two titles in college, Brunson is now trying to bring a championship back to New York.